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Comment Re: Even if practical technology was 10-20 years o (Score 1) 394

Maybe. My thought has always been that if fusion is close enough to get ballpark figures, we can build the necessary infrastructure and much of the housing in parallel with fusion development. Because the energy distribution will impose novel demands on the grid, it's going to require a major rethink on communications protocols, over-generation procedures, action plans on what to do if lines are taken out.

With fusion, especially, it's expensive at best to learn after the fact. Much better to get all the learning done in the decade until working fusion.

With all that in place, the ramp time until fusion is fully online at a sensible price will be greatly reduced.

Parallelize, don't serialize. Only shredded wheat should be cerealized.

Comment Re:123D Catch? Autodesk already has an app doing t (Score 4, Informative) 48

The differences are significant:

1) The Microsoft app works in real-time on the phone, rather than 123D Catch processing in the cloud
2) The Microsoft app shows real-time results, so you can see where there are issues, and continue to photograph until they are resolved. With 123D Catch you patch errors in post.
3) The Autodesk 123D Catch app actually exists, and the earlier web-based version has been around for about four years.

I'm kind of surprised that Microsoft isn't using the acceleration and magnetic sensors in the phone to help determine the camera position. It's one of the features that phone cameras have that DSLR's don't.

Comment Wish we'd built the F-20 (Score 2) 732

Northrop built the F-20 back in the late 70's. It had better dogfighting performance than the F-16, and was cheaper and simpler. To some extent, it's dogfighting performance was too good; of the three that were built two were lost due to the pilots losing consciousness during high-G maneuvers.

They built it because the US government had said that they wouldn't sell F-16's to the rest of the world, as it was too good. Unfortunately for Northrop, they changed their mind -- and as the F-16 was so well known it won out.

The remaining F-20 is hanging in the California Science Center in LA, it's a beautiful plane.

Comment Are we in Norstrilia? (Score 1) 234

In the Cordwainer Smith book Norstrilia , the protagonist buys Earth, and is astonished when he comes to visit that the rivers are not covered, that evaporation runs rampant -- unlike back on his home world of Norstilia. Over the three decades I've lived in California, and especially over the last few years, that part of the book seems more and more like reality.

Comment Partners told me not to come back (Score 1) 179

I entered the last entry "Does being fired count?" as that's the best fit.

At Hammerhead Productions, I was one of four partners. We had some disagreements, and while I was taking a leave and working for Universal on Fast and Furious , the other partners told me that I could no longer work there when that movie was over. C'est la vie.

Thad

Comment How does growth help? (Score 2) 206

There are two ways that I can see growth helping Uber:

1) They are expanding their locations; and using the profits of their existing locations to develop the new ones. At some point, they will stop growing, and the profits should increase.
2) If they are losing money in cities where they are well established, then by growing they will destroy the existing taxi industry; then they can raise rates dramatically and increase profits

The thing is, it's hard to see where Uber's costs are. They develop software, but that's a pretty small investment considering the hundreds of thousands of rides a day people take.

Comment Re:Google did it (Score 3, Informative) 70

Isn't this basically Google Voice? Google records the message, transcribes it to text.

I doubt the people living outside of the USA are going to care about that ... considering it's been 6 years since Google Voice launched and not even a subset of that functionality has made it over the Atlantic Ocean.

As far as we'll be concerned, SpinVox did it first and then (hopefully) Apple did it.

Comment Re:Passed data with a ton of noise? (Score 1) 391

The fact that they even wasted time thinking about doing a listening test is enough data I need to know they don't know WTF they are doing.

That's absurd. If something claims to be awesome at doing X then the best way to disprove it is to test it doing X. You then publish the tests and the results.

Saying "well that's clearly stupid so I'm not going to test it" doesn't prove anything because you haven't actually debunked the claim - however right you might be.

Comment Not so fast ... (Score 5, Informative) 62

Android Police did some digging and (ignoring the fact that the Commodore name is currently owned by the creditors of Asiarim Corp - who created a new company called C= and have done nothing more than make a website for it back in 2013) it looks to be a carbon copy of the Orgtec WaPhone.

On the upside, it does have some Amiga emulators loaded onto the phone - but you can easily get them from Google Play yourself.

TL;DR? It's unlikely to be Commodore, its a heavily marked up skinned phone and uses the MediaTek MT6752 chip - so you should probably keep away.

Comment That is the problem. (Score 1) 30

By trying to not say too much, the advisories are inherently vague and therefore can be interpreted as insignificant or a dire emergency depending on the day.

That's not useful to anyone.

Because the NSA and GCHQ have effectively eliminated all network security, thanks to their backdoors in things like Cisco devices, it should be automatically assumed that all the bad guys capable of exploiting the issue already have all the information they need and the bad guys not capable of exploiting the issue aren't an issue whether informed or not.

Advisories should therefore declare everything. Absolutely everything. And it should be made clear in those advisories that this is being done because the risks created by the backdoors exceed the risks created by the additional information.

The added information will aid in debugging, clearing up the issue faster and validating that no regressions have taken place.

Comment Lots of options (Score 2) 35

Now that they can extract pure silicon 28 with a simple linear accelerator (which should have been obvious), it should be possible to use much larger dies without running into imperfection problems. That doesn't keep to Moore's Law, admittedly, but it does mean you can halve the space that double the transistors would take, since you're eliminating a lot of packaging. Over the space of the motherboard, it would more than work out, especially if they moved to wafer-scale integration. Want to know how many cores they put onto a wafer using regular dies? Instead of chopping the wafer up, you throw on interconnects Transputer-style.

Graphene is troublesome, yes, but there's lots of places you need regular conductors. If you replace copper interconnects and the gold links to the pins, you should be able to reduce the heat generated and therefore increase the speed you can run the chips. Graphene might also help with 3D chip technology, as you're going to be generating less heat between the layers. That would let you double the number of transistors per unit area occupied, even if not per unit area utilized.

Gallium Arsenide is still an option. If you can sort pure isotopes then it may be possible to overcome many of the limitations that have existed so far on the technology. It has been nasty to utilize, due to pollution, but we're well into the age where you can just convert the pollution into plasma and again separate out what's in it. It might be a little expensive, but the cost of cleanup will always be more and you can sell the results from the separation. It's much harder to sell polluted mud.

In the end, because people want compute power rather than a specific transistor count, Processor-in-Memory is always an option, simply move logic into RAM and avoid having to perform those functions by going through support chips, a bus and all the layers of a CPU in order to get carried out. DDR4 is nice and all that, but main memory is still a slow part of the system and the caches on the CPU are easily flooded due to code always expanding to the space available. There is also far too much work going on in managing memory. The current Linux memory manager is probably one of the best around. Take that and all the memory support chips, put it on an oversized ASIC and give it some cache. The POWER8 processor has 96 megabytes of L3 cache. I hate odd amounts and the memory logic won't be nearly as complex as the POWER8's, so let's increase it to 128 megabytes. Since the cache will be running at close to the speed of the CPU, exhaustion and stalling won't be nearly so common.

Actually, the best thing would be for the IMF (since it's not doing anything useful with its money) to buy millions of POWER8 and MIPS64 processors, offering them for free to geeks individually on on daughter boards that can be plugged in as expansion cards. At worst, it would make life very interesting.

Comment Sadly, gas is cheaper than electricity in CA (Score 3, Interesting) 688

I just bought a Ford C-Max Energi; but I bought it strictly for the green carpool-lane sticker.

In California, if you live in a big house, your marginal cost of electricity is shockingly high. For me, it's $0.33/kilowatt-hour.

My Energi goes 20 miles with a 8 kWh charge. That's $2.64 On gas, it gets about 35 mpg. If gas is $3.50 (current price) that's $2.20.

Now, during mid-day on a sunny day, I can charge it much cheaper on our solar panels (currently we are selling power back to PG&E, but at $0.11/kWh) and I do that. I also charge it at work, where it's 'free'; but I live 50 miles from work so I can't keep the car charged just at work. The 'free' power at work won't last forever, either.

You may ask "why not get a Tesla?" Good question. It turns out that there are (at my company) 3x the number of electric-ish cars as there are charging stations, so we have to swap them out after just a few hours. The Tesla would take all day to charge. Also, the Tesla is such a lumbering overpowered beast that it gets substantially less miles-per-kilowatt-hour.

Thad

"Life begins when you can spend your spare time programming instead of watching television." -- Cal Keegan

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